Paying Administrative Expenses in Palm City Probates

With the help of a probate attorney, you can rest assured that an attorney can help. Paying administrative expenses in Palm City probates often presents challenges for people unfamiliar with legal laws. Instead of stumbling through notices, vetting claims on your own, or landing in legal trouble, let an attorney help.

Claims and Who Can File Them in Martin County

A claim is an assertion by a person or entity that the decedent’s estate is indebted for an expense incurred during that person’s life. Any person or entity may file a claim so long as it is done in good faith.

Duties of Personal Representatives

One of the most important requirements of the personal representative is to pay valid claims filed against the estate. Fla. Stat. §733.707 provides an order of priority for payment of claims in cases where there are insufficient funds in the estate to satisfy all claims and expenses. Before making payment to any claimant, proper notice must be given to all creditors.

Notice to Creditors and Estate Representatives

A notice to creditors is a notice published in a newspaper of general circulation that notifies any potential creditor of the decedent’s death and the probate court where administration occurs. In addition, the personal representative is required to mail a copy of the notice to any known or reasonably discoverable creditor of the decedent.

Depending on the timing and whether notice was provided to the creditor, there are varying effects. There is an absolute bar to all creditor claims 2 years after the death of the decedent. If proper notice is not provided to a creditor, then the creditor may make a claim at any time within the 2-year period. However, if notice is properly provided and the creditor fails to file in a timely fashion, yes, absent an extension granted by the court, the creditor’s claim or interest will not be recognized.

To file a notice, the creditor simply files a form with the court detailing the creditor’s name/contact information and provides details on the amount and nature of the claim.

Exceptions and Paying Creditors

If more than 2 years has elapsed since the decedent’s death, then there is no need to do anything about the debt. However, if less than 2 years has elapsed, then until proper notice has been provided (which includes publishing a notice to creditors and mailing a copy to the creditor), and the longer of 3 months from first publication of the notice or 30 days from the date the creditor receives a notice has passed, the opportunity to file a claim remains open.

Some assets may be considered exempt from creditor claims, like homestead property, 2 automobiles, but a court order should be sought in order to confirm exempt status. Non-exempt assets may generally be used to satisfy creditor claims, but a probate attorney can offer additional guidance where there may be specific bequests in the decedent’s will.

Tips for Paying Creditors

Administrative costs and expenses of probate are generally given a high order of priority when it comes to payment of expenses and debts. Therefore, costs and expenses are typically paid out of the estate before any valid claims are satisfied.

Common Misconceptions Surrounding Estate Administration

Some do not understand the order of priority requirements for estate expenses and debts and assume that the personal representative may use discretion in making these payments. The personal representative is considered a fiduciary for the estate on behalf of not only the estate’s beneficiaries but also any creditors with a valid claim. The personal representative owes similar duties to beneficiaries and claimants alike.

Speak with an Experienced Attorney

A qualified probate lawyer can guide the personal representative in fulfilling their fiduciary duties so as to prevent the personal representative from incurring personal liability. Paying administrative expenses in Palm City probates does not have to be challenging. Let an attorney work for you. Reach out today.

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